In an area known for endemic Q fever, eight of 52 cases of nonbacterial pneumonia were proven to be caused by infection with Coxiella burnettii. Intimate contact with a possible source of infection was excluded in all patients and dust-borne transmission of the rickettsial organism from animal to man was implicated. Symptoms, physical findings, and laboratory and roentgenographic data were similar to those previously described in Q fever and were indistinguishable from those found in viral or mycoplasmal pneumonia. All patients treated with tetracycline showed a dramatic response within 24 hours. Q fever must be considered in the diagnosis whenever nonbacterial pneumonia occurs in late summer or early fall in an area where Q fever is endemic. Early diagnosis and treatment will significantly reduce morbidity.
Musher DM. Q Fever: A Common Treatable Cause of Endemic Nonbacterial Pneumonia. JAMA. 1968;204(10):863–866. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140230021005
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: